December 28, 2006

The last beer

The office Christmas party, held last December 21 at our boss' house, had the 80's as its theme. Considering it's the era I grew up with, conjuring the 80's look should have been a breeze.

But alas, my precious 80's outfits were carefully stowed and sealed in a chest in the ancestral home in the province. Had the announcement about the theme been made a tad earlier, I might have had the chance of strutting down the catwalk in my Menudo look.

Anyway, it was a great evening.

It was the first time I drank that much beer again since Penn passed away.

Before Penn's untimely demise, drinking sessions for us were spontaneous – never planned nor something we look forward to. They just happen at the slightest nudge here or a small hint there.

And just as unpredictable is the amount of beer to be consumed. Since our suking sari-sari store owner count us as well-paying customers, the credit line she gives could sometimes take the drinking sessions as far as our stamina will take us.

But Dec. 21 was something I looked forward to. It was something I planned amid the soul-crushing pressure of work faced by the Techies and the rest of mother station just before we all call it a year.

And so drink beer I did – I needed it, and I would have snapped if I didn't get it – at the same house, while playing on the same billiards table where Penn had his last game and his last can of beer. Cheers.

Sigh.

What a tough year this has been. Eventful and replete of blessings, which I am so thankful for, but tough nonetheless.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Deprived of the grand prize for the past two years, the Techies made up for its losing streak by looking really, really good. *ubo-ubo!* (l-r: lei, vlad, mic, mear, cherrie, mae, and lynn)

December 03, 2006

Fan

Prayers go out to people in Albay and all those who were affected by typhoon Reming...

There were only two occasions when I got starstruck.

First was when I was introduced to my favorite lady disk jockey some years ago during a charity event in UP Diliman.

I can't remember how our conversation went, but I recall how clammy my hands felt from sheer nervousness. It was an unexpected encounter, so I never had the time to prepare emotionally (Ewww baduy. Harhar!).

She is now a popular TV personality in the field of sports and fitness.

The second was when Joan and I watched Day Two of the 2006 World Pool Championship, held for the first time in the Philippines from November 4 to 12.

I'm not a sports fan. It's a title best reserved for those who devoted their spare time following the careers of their chosen personalities and knowing the intricacies of the game.

If I happen to have a few trophies here and there, it is because I had the honor of having a brilliant pool player and sportsman as a housemate for over five years.

Cheers to you, Penn.

And if I happen to know some stories behind the big names in the world of billiards, I owe it to our boss who kept his staff informed of both the history and the latest news every time we find the rare occasion to play in the office.

Efren 'Bata' ReyesTo see these big names up close and in live action was another experience entirely, especially when you get ringside seats (thanks to our boss' complimentary tickets).

Radoslaw BabicaHere, I realized there are so many things the TV camera cannot capture: the sound of Efren Bata Reyes' cue stick slamming the steel floor when he makes a bad positioning; the funny faces of Steve Davis when he acknowledges the crowd behind his seat; the steady, stoic expression of Radoslaw Babica despite the hecklers from the Filipino audiences; and, (sigh) the hecklers from the Filipino audiences.

Pinoys have a long way to go when it comes to audience etiquette and phone manners. The world will remember how Django Bustamante got messed up because somebody from the crowd answered his phone while he's in mid-swing, and how a fan took a flash photo of him during his shot.

Watching the game live was great -- we saw how real and human the pool legends are while they lounge, chat with fans, or walk around the hall looking like ordinary folks. Only when they wield their cue sticks and step to the tournament table do they change into something else -- Masters!

But in the end, Joan and I agree that we still prefer to watch most of the hours-long matches on TV, with a bag of nachos, spicy salsa, and ice-cold coke at hand, listening to the witty sports commentators.

Congratulations to the champ, Ronato Alcano!

And cheers to Manny Pacquiao, too.

October 28, 2006

Legacy

Last night the night lamp in our living room burned unusually bright. It was so bright we didn't have to use the two other lamps to light up the rest of the apartment's first level.

This morning we found the lamp's bulb busted -- its glass burned black and broken.

Burned out...

"At least it went out in a blaze of glory," I told my wife, "now THAT's a great way to go."

The lowly bulb became the apartment's brightest star, even for just one night, leaving a legacy that earned it a few seconds of conversation over breakfast.

The same phenomenon happens in watch batteries. Their dying moments are usually heralded by the crazy speed of the watch's second hand.

It happens to people, too.

That yearning to stand out and shine, and to perform with unusual enthusiasm and efficiency, in an attempt to leave behind a legacy...

Before they go.

I believe that's the ideal scenario. It may be hard for most of us, and oftentimes it is exactly what's keeping us where we are despite years of planning to move on.

Here's praying that we all leave behind a legacy...

Before we go.

We may not be successful, but at least we tried.

September 27, 2006

Sacrifice

I have known too many people, some of them close friends, who died because they cannot break a habit that destroyed them in the first place.

I have listened to their tales of so-called sacrifices, the things they have to give up so they could keep on living as normally and healthy as possible. At times, I hear only stories of hardship, making their lives seem like one big punishment.

But when does the concept of sacrifice end and change of lifestyle begin?

If it is the doctor’s order to stop smoking, throwing or giving away your stash of cigarettes is not a sacrifice, just as passing off the cake for dessert because of your diabetes is not a superhuman feat.

It is just a change of lifestyle, and one just have to live with it. Haven’t they smoked enough packets of cigarettes, or eaten enough sweets, or drank barrels of liquor during their "age of invulnerability" to last them a lifetime?

But unfortunately, some think otherwise, and thus giving in to old habits is just normal. “Tao lang, kumbaga.”

And so they take a puff, eat a slice, take a sip. And every time, they render thousands of pesos worth of medication useless.

I have listened to too many of these tales.

And now I have to listen to that of my father’s.

September 26, 2006

Breach

I tip my hat to those who can build a rock-solid division between personal and work problems, and keep it that way.

Mine just broke.

Today I managed destroy four pencils, raise my voice to a colleague (I'm sooooo sorry po), and, worse of all, demote an article by a multi-awarded journalist to a mere side-story in our media release – what the heck was I thinking?

I better go home before I do more damage to my work, others, and myself.

I can’t wait to go home.

Sigh.

September 21, 2006

I give up...

Dad.

I just learned that no amount of anger can change the fact that you are my father.

No matter how hard I try to keep my distance, I’ll come running to heed your call.

I may have a thousand and one alibis to stay away, but I’m surprised at how easily I can drop everything to rush by your side...

If you just cry for help.

Ah.

I hope you get well, Dad.

I just hope, too, that you see what my brother and sister are going through to help you...

and that you know what you’re doing...

August 31, 2006

Ideal

Deuteronomy 24:5. “When a man is newly wed, he need not go out on a military expedition, nor shall any public duty be imposed on him. He shall be exempt for one year for the sake of his family, to bring joy to the wife he has married.” – New American Bible, Catholic translation.

I received this verse through my cellphone last August 15, back when it didn’t mean much to me – I was confident my wife knew the nature of my work more than anyone else.

Just the same, I kept it, maybe as a reminder of what is ideal.

The other day however, on my 31st birthday, while being surrounded by officemates singing birthday songs in videoke, something clicked and struck me like a horrible revelation.

I’m celebrating my birthday over two hundred kilometers away from my wife.

Only then did I understand, during the times I’ve been spending most of the time this month on field, why I get so much comments like “Buti naman hindi ka inaaway ng wife mo” or “Napaka-understanding naman ng wife mo.”

I know. I know.

Darn it.

I know.

Things are still changing, and I’m still learning how to view work and life differently. The old ways simply won’t do.

Right now, I'm just happy and thankful to be home with my wife.

June 23, 2006

Six days to go

I just came back from a three-day stay-in workshop. Every night during that workshop, we, the facilitators, stay up late working and preparing for next day’s activities.

It was on the second night when I asked my married officemate, “How many days before your wedding did you go on leave?”

Maybe just a few days, was his somewhat uncertain reply.

“Okay. I’ll be on leave starting Friday afternoon up to July 7. That’ll be about ten working days.”

Ten working days.

That’s a hell lot of days for a lean, mean NGO like the one I work with.

I know this fact when I was filing my leave application last June 19. So I backed up my application with a more detailed, more formal request…

For: The Operations Committee

This is to formally request permission to go on leave for ten and a half (10 1/2) days, starting the afternoon of June 23 up to July 7, for the following reasons:

1) I will be getting married on June 28;

2) My only sister, a nurse in Liverpool, has come home, and I will be meeting my niece for the first time;

3) This is the first time after many years that my family will be once again complete.


It's somewhat dramatic, but what the heck. ^^

June 08, 2006

The call...

Remember this?

It’s over.

My officemate for over six or seven years (darn, I can’t even remember), my housemate for over two years... a big bro, tatay, and lolo to most of his friends...

He passed away this afternoon...



I received the call in the middle of a project meeting.

It was my boss.

Normally he wouldn’t do that – to call us knowing we are in a meeting.

He asked me to pass the phone to our project director, who was speaking at that time. In a hushed voice, she told me that she has been ignoring her phone ringing repeatedly in her pocket.

But his request was firm, and I have no choice but to interrupt our director, and hand her my phone.

The gasp and panicked voice made almost everyone turn from the meeting table. Judging from her expression, whatever our boss was telling her, it was bad.

Really bad.

When she walked back to the table, she first apologized and broke the news to everyone.

Our Senior Programmer passed away.

Condolences were extended, and the meeting have to go on.

It was hard... To not to shed a tear in front of the meeting. I wanted to break something. Anything.

But I can't.

Under the table, my hand were shaking, and I cannot understand half of what was being discussed.

Darn you!

Darn you! We were playing billiards just last week, you stubborn ox, and not even our bosses could make you put down that freakin’ bottle of beer.

Damn damn damn damn!

Shit.





Sigh...

Peace, King Tot.

Wherever you are, I’m sure you are in a better place.

I’ll dedicate my first bottle of beer to you.

Cheers!

And I'm not done writing about you just yet. More to follow.

May 23, 2006

Weird...

... dream.

This usually happens to me when I sleep in an unfamiliar place, or specifically, “namamahay.” So here’s a quickie entry, while the dream is still fresh...

I was in a big house with five businessmen. I went out with two of them to roam a busy marketplace, much like the ones in Divisoria or Baclaran, in search of a legendary shoemaker. We found him busy at work in a small shop full of not shoes but wood.

A fifty-something man with graying hair and sparse moustache, he reminded me of one of my betel-chewing uncles in Batangas.

He was working on a piece of furniture, and was driving ten-inch nails, with surgical precision, with a single smash of his hammer.

Maybe that makes him an even better shoemaker, I wondered.

And so we invited him to the big house. He sat down beneath on a stool beneath a cage with a yellow bird, and started to work on the shoes. Lots of shoes! All leather, expensive-looking shoes.

Then the scary part began.

At first it was a scratching sound that came from underneath the wooden floors, then a clear noise of something moist slithering through smooth surface. The old man stopped, and peered down a two-inch diameter drain fixed on the wooden floor.

The “thing” leaped out of the drainage – a gooey mass of dark green – swallowed the entire upper body of the old man, and pulled him back down in the drainage. How it managed to squeeze a fully-grown man through that drain was... scary.

Not one of the five businessmen noticed what happened as they went on with their own affairs – which is doing absolutely nothing. Some were standing, some were seated, but all were staring into nothing.

I went down the basement to search for the old man, and found an abandoned subway station. The dusty benches are full of cobwebs, and the rusty railroad tracks were broken and twisted. I called out for the old man, and I heard echoes coming from the pitch-black tunnels.

Suddenly, a group of high school kids came down through the basement and gathered in one of the dusty benches. One of them played the guitar, and in no time the whole place was filled with songs, loud voices, and laughter.

I went up back to the house, and saw a familiar person – my fiancee.

The moist, slithering sound filled the house, and grew louder and louder.


I shouted for everyone to go upstairs.

As the businessmen snapped out of their zombie-like state and rushed up the stairs, the “thing” burst through the floor and erupted into hundreds smaller versions of itself, eating and gnawing everything they come into contact with.

I called out to my fiancee to follow me upstairs, but she and another lady ran in the opposite direction to another room. They were able to slide the glass door shut just as one of the “things” made a jump for them.

Somehow, in that dream, I felt a bit sad because my fiancee chose a different escape route. But as
I woke up, I knew she made the right decision.

We are different in so many ways, but somehow here we are, surviving and growing together still, and soon to live as one.

Some dream, huh? ^^

May 18, 2006

Cleanup

Hey, the Philippine flag is at the Mt. Everest summit. Isn't that something?

Cheers to the RP mountaineers for that wondrous feat. This country could use every bit of feel-good news it can get.

But while it is not an issue whoever reached the summit first, wouldn’t it be nice if a fact-finding group actually go out to get the real accounts and details from the “mystery climber” himself? – just so the record could be set straight. The Guinness does that, so why can’t we?

Here’s another accomplishment.

It took just one visit from my fiancee to get the Kampo cleanup started. Haha! Talk about getting a kick start. She is, after all, the one who discovered the place, and she deserves the best it has to offer.

We managed to clean the restroom, kitchen, and one of the two rooms for the whole Sunday afternoon. I now have a longer list of stuffs to buy from the hardware shop.

We have miles to go to get Kampo in tip-top shape again, but we're getting there.

After staying there for over two years, I'm rediscovering how nice Kampo is. Very soon we'll let go of that place, and it would surely break my heart (a bit) when that time comes.

May 16, 2006

Drop

All this fuss over The DaVinci Code is simply stoking the public’s interest about the film. For me, interest = curiosity = view the film, or read the book = big bucks for the producers/publishers. And the only thing banning the film in this country will do is give the pirated CD/DVD dealers a reason to dance in the rain.

Speaking of rain, my body, as always, despises the sudden drop in temperature – it developed a sloth-like agility, generated throbbing headaches strong enough to make me puke, and has now conquered my beloved insomnia (not good at all, considering there are urgent things to finish this month).

But thank goodness no major illness has befallen me so far. I hope you guys stay healthy in this weather.

May 09, 2006

Restless

Late again.

This morning was the *cough cough*nth time I came in late for work this month. The good news is that the margin from that precious 8:59am mark is getting smaller and smaller. If my projections are correct, by tomorrow my body would have fully adjusted to wake up on its own ON TIME.

My excuse for oversleeping this morning: we attended a small despedida get-together for my fiancee's newly-wed officemate.

The sad part is, it is only the husband who will be flying back to the U.S. The wife, my fiancee's officemate, will be left behind and probably would take months before she could join him.

The couple have only been together for a week after their wedding. I couldn't describe the sadness as the couple spent the last hours together, all I can say is that I was close to rushing to the restroom because of so much tightness in my chest and stomach.

Sigh.

Good thing there was a magic microphone in the house -- we sang to our hearts' content until we left for the airport at around 3am.

An afterthought: Last night's videoke session reminded me that "kung gaano kaganda ang isang awitin, ganun din iyon kahirap kantahin" (the lovelier the song, the harder it is to sing it... tama ba?). Good thing no one else scored higher than my record of 96, thanks to that ever-reliable song that never fails to redeem my earlier blunders -- "My Way". ^^ jk.

***

I've turned half of Kampo into a makeshift DIY shop: the dinning table became my worktable for the wedding invitations, and the vacant room is where the souvenir boxes get painted, as well as a temporary storage room.

There is lots of work to be done with the place, but somehow I just freeze when I think of where to start.


Sigh.


My gaming life has been put on the sidelines since the wedding preps, but a certain restlessness would creep every now and then into my system, and it can only be pacified by logging on to any of the online games left in my PC.

The collection of games in my PC has evolved, and the common denominator is they’re all free-to-play.

I blame it on one fateful night when none of the nearby shops had top-up cards for any of the online games I play. That singular moment of frustration made me search for an online game that is free anytime.

After some searching and trials, my new favorites are: Silkroad Online, Pangya, and FLYFF.

I miss the ones that I started out with on online rpgs, but it has become play-on-demand for me, and searching for a top-up card in the middle of the night is something I don’t want to worry about anymore.


Silkroad Online
Server: Aege
Name: Datu
Primary job: Hunter
Primary force element: Fire
Weapon type: Blade
Armor type: Garment
Primary opponent (aside from the usual monsters): Thieves
Secondary opponents: All other player-characters
Favorite line: "anak ng..."
Favorite pastime: Skill farming

May 05, 2006

Grand eviction night, and the week after

Last April 28 was “grand eviction day” at Kampo.

Kampo is the apartment my housemates and I have been renting for over two years. The place is near a police camp, thus the nickname.

My fiancee, who found the place in the classified ads, referred it to us in July 2003. By August 2003, five housemates moved in. In a span of over two years, the original five has come down to three.

After the grand eviction, Kampo is left with one housemate -– me.

It was nothing like Pinoy Big Brother, though, where housemates get evicted for violations, tactical nominations, and text voting. It was a favor I’ve asked of my now former housemates: that I get to solo Kampo two months before my wedding.

They agreed, and for this I owe them big time.

And so with some beer, Mike’s pasta, and some officemates, we celebrated our last night as housemates. Salamat sa inyo, ‘dre. Tandaan n'yo na laging bukas ang Kampo sa inyo at lahat ng Tetcheeze, anumang oras. Wag n’yong kalimutang magdala ng beer (Hehe. Joke lang). ^^

That night also marked the end of my lifestyle of co-habitation.

For the longest time, I’ve spent my life living with people outside of my family, in places dictated by my choice of educational institution and, eventually, workplace -- a typical lifestyle of a promdi whose permanent address doesn’t even have a street number.

It’s been a week now since I had Kampo for myself. It’s almost surreal. I’ve forgotten the freedom of living in a space that’s totally your own.

Absolute silence and darkness suddenly became things that I command and control, not just something I wish for. Time, for a while, became obscure with the sudden disappearance of other people’s rituals (that explains my sudden tardiness at the office).

I’ll be enjoying these rare, small moments for two months.

One of the tequilla fridays at Kampo. (l-r) penn, vlad, rubs, ai, mae, mike, mear, lynn, mage, and lei.
(Note: Kampo housemates)

May 03, 2006

The other side

Finally... blog...

My short visit home wasn’t as hectic as I expected. I remember sleeping one whole afternoon, riding around town a bit to say hello to old friends, and going Boracay.

The island always has something new, and each visit gives me a reason or two to be both sad and happy.

The not-so-happy things about Bora are mostly found behind the beach front.

Politics has dipped its dirty hands in the island’s lucrative tourism business.

The people’s associations and cooperatives, which have worked for so long and so hard to establish the island’s transport system, are facing competition from the provincial government. The sad part is that there's nothing fair and legal with the provincial government’s encroachment of the island’s transport system – no permits, no franchise, no warning. If the provincial government doesn’t desist, people are bound to get hurt.

The indigenous people are slowly losing their land to big corporations and politicians.

Take a motorbike tour at the island’s interior – if you find a piece of vacant land that has no “Private Property” or “In this site will rise so-and-so hotel” hanged at the barbed wire fence, you can bet that it’s already reserved for a big politician or a crony of whoever's in power.

Finally, the island is an ecological time-bomb.

Should you get to visit Bora, take a trip to the highest point at Mt. Luho. For a donation of P50 pesos, you get a full view of the island from end to end (and get your hair and scalp picked by their resident monkeys, if you like).

So if you’re wondering where all the island's waste and garbage go, or how small the patch of land is left for the indigenous tribes, or how big the upcoming hotels and golf courses will be, this place will give you an idea.

The happy things?

The sun, the sea, the beautiful people, and the beautiful memories.

Yun lang. Mababaw ako eh.

April 11, 2006

Drift

Tomorrow I’m off to a very short vacation.

The ship will leave Manila Harbor two in the afternoon, and arrive in Capiz morning the next day. I'll then drop by my future in-laws in Roxas City before traveling for an hour to my hometown in Aklan. With luck, I hope to get fitted for my barong before Thursday end.

Friday and Saturday will be for other wedding matters and rest (sigh).

Sunday morning looks promising. Maybe I could visit Boracay before boarding the Manila-bound ship at Caticlan before 7pm.

The trip itself is already a break, maybe a reason why I always prefer traveling by ship than by plane.

To be gone and drifting nowhere, even for a while, is a welcome solitude.

Have a restful Lenten break.

March 22, 2006

Remember, remember...

Image hosting by PhotobucketBefore pink fences were placed along Edsa-Ayala Avenue, people crowded the sidewalk. Not bad, considering that’s where pedestrians should be.

Now they crowd the street, meeting buses head-on, while the designated waiting areas nearby stand deserted, utterly ignored by commuters.

We certainly have a way with control, be it structural, verbal, or non-verbal. What is it with us and following regulations? Are we too ingenious and innovative for our own good, or is it in our genes to constantly bend and break any rule in place?

Today, I attended a public presentation by the Communication Research students of UP-CMC entitled “Sino si Ped Xing?”

It was an interesting and well-executed study about road safety practices of schoolchildren and parents, considering the limitation in resources. I salute the students and my former professors for a job well done.

***
Speaking of control, the last three films I’ve watched seem to fit this certain theme, and somehow coincided with the events this country is going through.

Aeon Flux is hell bent on bringing down a man whose intention is to help mankind but was sorely misunderstood because of the deeds of people he held close to his side.

Erap now stands to testify to the numerous allegations of plunder and corruption. For all he knows, his intentions were good, and it was the people around him that spelled his downfall.

Hou Yuanjia (Fearless) fought for his country and suffered a painful end from those who seek power. The Jedis suffered the same fate, as my future brother-in-law aptly pointed out – the very empire that they struggled to protect will be the one to exterminate them (“Oh, Order 66 already? So this is where we kill all the Jedi, right? Copy that Sir.")

Does that sound like PP 1017? Randy David, Satur Ocampo, and others who marched along the current president some years ago now become targets of arrests and charges. Even as the order was lifted, the tension continues.

Finally, V for Vendetta, the best of the lot, left some of the most memorable lines in my head:

We all wear masks. Life creates them and forces us to find the one that fits. – V.

I don't know who you are. Or whether you're a man or a woman. I may never see you or cry with you or get drunk with you. But I love you. I hope that you escape this place. I hope that the world turns and that things get better, and that one day people have roses again. I wish I could kiss you. – Valerie

Happiness is the most insidious prison of all, Evey. – V.

You see? You cannot kill me. There is no flesh and blood within this cloak to kill. There is only an idea. And ideas are bulletproof. – V.

Twenty years ago, V’s from all walks of life gathered to bring down the one in power. If the idea lived on to this day, perhaps one day, when all the blocks are in place, all it takes is a flick of a finger.

March 18, 2006

Not enough

When I first smelled the reek of alcohol, I kept quiet. Deep inside I was fuming.

Here’s a guy who got sick and hospitalized for weeks because his faulty liver cannot properly absorb the medication.

But now, barely two months after returning to work, he’s at it again.

He turned on the television and settled on his usual spot while I tapped away at the computer.

Then I smelled cigarette.

There he was, my dear housemate, puffing on his favorite brand, with the most satisfied look on his face. His smile told me he already knew what I was about to say.

“Balik sa dati, ha?”

Sigh.

I wanted to say more – tell him how the office adjusted when he got sick, what went on in the heads of the managers while discussing his health condition, how I came to be the new person to handle the office's e-mailing list, how we worried about what we’ll do when the network and computers bog down…

That he still has three young kids that depend on him, and that he has to be fit and well at the age of 58 if he wants to see all of them finish college…

That I promised to give him a flying kick the moment I see him smoke.

But I can’t.

It’s his life, and that’s all we ever could do – worry.

And our living room hasn't enough space for a decent flying kick.

March 13, 2006

Refreshing

Free forever!

The Free-to-Play scheme for the latest online games is almost a dream come true for a non-hardcore gamer like myself. Just play and enjoy the storyline without worrying about monthly fees. You only spend real money for items that make your character stronger, or look better.

Clever marketing strategy, I’d say. Now we can really tell who are the moneyed players, based on the accessories on their virtual characters.

And my oh my, this Ran Online looks and feels so much like FF VII.

Finally, here’s another piece that I find refreshing.

March 08, 2006

Delay

Last night I saved a kitten from getting squashed. I found the little fellow right smack in the middle of Maginhawa Street near our apartment. How it got there, and managed to stay alive amid the after-office rush, is a mystery.

But the kitten is too young to survive without the mother. I have played savior to too many kittens in the past to know that this one will eventually die, even with human care. It was already limp with exhaustion and can only make the faintest meow. Its right eye, which has a patch of black hair, is still shut.

I tried tracing the place where the kitten could have possibly crawled from – a grassy spot at the sidewalk – placed it in an ice cream container lined with newspaper, and prayed that the mother would somehow find it.

I named the kitten Rush Hour.

This morning the container was empty, and the nearby road has no signs of *ewww* roadkill.

The rats could have gotten to it. Or maybe the mother did find it. Whether I did save the poor thing, or deprived it a painless death, I will never know – unless I come across a young cat with a black patch in its right eye someday.

March 03, 2006

Perspective

To carry on with the daily ritual with just one eye was an enlightening experience.

For one day I had an idea of the adjustments my officemate, who lost his right eye to tumor, went through. (This is nothing about the emotional aspect, though – that’s way beyond my understanding.)

It took me ten seconds to apply the toothpaste on my toothbrush, and even missed a whole glob on my first squeeze. It took me twice the time to finish my meals because I kept missing my mouth by a fraction of an inch. I can bounce the ping-pong ball only two to three times before it wildly goes off-course.

Outside, people WILL look, and I had to be extra careful while trying to move as naturally as possible.

At the office, I answered the first three persons sincerely about the eyepatch. Later on, as the questions started pouring in, I was telling them, “I had an eyebag lift”, or “I’m playing pirate”.

We were halfway through a meeting when our boss asked about the eyepatch. Before I could answer, somebody went ahead and said, “He’s playing pirate, sir.”

The whole day I got challenges for ping-pong and billiards matches. And the whole day I marveled at how my officemate never slowed down even with the loss of his right eye some years ago. He rides his scooter everyday and does the office plumbing, steelworks, electricity, and overall maintenance.

I was a more grateful person when I removed the bandage at the end of the day.

March 01, 2006

Bleed

For a day, my eyes will see only black. But before that, it saw red.

Blood red.

I now know, without a doubt, that I’m a bleeder – a darn heavy bleeder.

I had a lump removed from the lower lid of my left eye this afternoon. The incision was made in the inner side of the eyelid so there would be no visible wound. But the tiny incision bled hard, and for a few seconds, while lying on the operating table, I saw through a film of blood.

Weird. And beautiful.

I have to wear the bandage for 24 hours. Impaired depth perception for one day.

Great.

February 25, 2006

Practice

Now here's a good example of a lesson learned: people power can be dispersed after all.

We've had so much practice at this sort of undertaking that either the government has finally found an efficient (it's that eff word again) way to break up the buildup before it reaches critical mass, or the people have simply gone tired of taking it out on the streets.

I feel it's more of the former.

Anyway, here's a snapshot of public opinion on the defensive form of people power.

Happy 20th anniversary, People Power 1.

February 17, 2006

Crazy

Crazy sounds. Crazy, but amazing.

My fiancee’s cousin is into beatboxing, and while my exposure to this kind of music is very limited (if not non-existent), there is definitely pure talent in his repertoire.

Check out this human beatbox at www.hira85.com. And yeah, you can contact him if you want their group for any event. They wakawaka-rock!

The 2006 EIGA SAI at UP Film Center was postponed last night. I was hoping to watch “Memories of You,” directed by Sawai Shinichi. Sigh.

Out of sheer frustration for not having watched a movie, I did something bad: I picked up a pirated copy of Underworld: Evolution from a sidewalk at Philcoa (and paid for it, syempre).

It was strange watching all those blood-lapping while drinking a large mug of warm milk. Blood and gore! Haaaarrr!

February 16, 2006

Old news, fresh perspective

I arrived just in time for lunch at the Marketing and Opinion Research Society of the Philippines General Membership Meeting. People have started eating, so I squeezed in the nearest table occupied by a group of ladies (marketing and research, as I have accepted since college days, is still a female-dominated industry).

The getting-to-know-you-better part can wait, so I went straight to that important business of filling my stomach. In the middle of working that grub, familiar faces slowly filled the hall – some old-timers, some famous, some whom I’ve met at various projects, conventions, and similar meetings.

One familiar face gave me a surprise. A former dorm-mate, a batch younger, whose name somehow I did not forget (forgetting names is, sadly, one of my strong points) despite having not seen her for the longest time.

“So you still in the same office?” she asked.

“Yup. And you?”

“Still in the same organization – since graduation.”

“So just like me, you been working there for *ubo-ubo* years?”

“Yup!”

Dr. Ned Roberto, marketing and reseaarch guru, gave his outlook for 2006.

It’s the same set of lessons through the years since the Marcos administration: politics overwhelm economics. The sad part is, we never learn.

This year we can only hope that economics could rise above politics. A near-impossible feat, considering we have yet to hear more clamoring for either an end to political bickering or the ouster of the President.

But there’s much each and every one of us can do to help. These may be old news, but there’s always a time to start anew, and go back to where the problems lie.

Let’s do our part in making this country better, one day at a time.

February 15, 2006

Fulfilled

I just noticed today that I’ve been caffeine-free for almost a week until now. Had it not for that spicy isaw I ate, I wouldn’t have drunk that Coke given to me at the wake of our boss’ mother.

Now I’m having a hard time getting to sleep. I’m halfway with my mug of warm milk, but my body and mind are in no way slowing down.

There is much to remember from what was said, and shared, during the service.

Rich lessons on raising children to be open-minded persons.

That precious wisdom to always remember that God speaks to everyone in different ways, and no one should place oneself higher than anyone when it comes to faith.

And being remembered by selfless acts of generosity, belief in others, and planting a tree.

Grandmo, as we old-timers would call our boss’ mom, had a rich, fulfilled life. The family she left behind will attest to her legacy.

February 14, 2006

Destiny and Soulmate

The actual questionnaire went as follow:

1) Naniniwala po ba kayo na may isang tao na inilaan ng tadhana para makapiling ninyo na pang habangbuhay?
- Oo, naniniwala sa tadhana
- Hindi naniniwala sa tadhana

2) KUNG OO: Natagpuan na po ba ninyo ang taong ito?
- Natagpuan ko na ang taong ito
- Hindi pa natagpuan ang taong ito

3) KUNG NATAGPUAN NA ANG TAONG ITO: Sino po itong taong ito?
4) KUNG HINDI PA NATAGPUAN ANG TAONG ITO: Kayo po ba ay umaasa pa na matagpuan ninyo ang taong ito?
- Oo, umaasa pa
- Hindi na umaasa pa


Here are the results, which SWS released yesterday at 5 pm.

The release was picked up by some networks last night and today by newspaper. In their write-up, some reported it as "85% of Pinoys believe in soulmates..."

Soulmate...

While it was not the questionnaire's intention to ask about the concept of soulmate per se, and the media are so welcome to interpret it as such (kanya-kanyang opinyon lang yan, as we always say), I personally believe destiny and soulmates could be one and, at the same time, two totally different concepts (or persons).

I believe a soulmate could be anyone -- a friend, your mother or father, a family member, or even a stranger you have yet to meet.

Lucky are those who get to meet their soulmates, and never lose them as they grow old.

Blessed are those who end up marrying them.

And destiny...

Well, destiny is destiny.

Anlabo no?

Happy Valentine's Day na lang. ^^

February 12, 2006

Evolution

Here’s something I don’t see often.

The train was already full when I boarded at GMA-Kamuning MRT station, and as always I took my position at the corner. The usual scenario was there: young, able-bodied men comfortably seated while right in front of them women stand holding on to handrails.

Among the crowd that boarded at the next station was group of seven women, mostly elderly – and one of them blind. To my utter horror, none of the able-bodied men made any move to offer their seats.

And, mercifully, it happened.

The eldest of the group squeezed her way to the nearest seated man, who was listening to his MP3. She grabbed his arm and said in a calm but firm voice, “Tumayo ka. Paupuin mo kami.”

Without a word the guy stood up. The old lady then proceeded to call her blind companion as she pulled the next able-bodied guy off his seat. Perhaps anticipating what will happen next, the three other guys seated nearby did not wait to be grabbed, and silently they vacated their seats for the other elderly ladies.

None of the nearby young, able-bodied women vacated their seats, but eventually all seven of the elderly ladies were seated.

It was not long ago when I carry some rules of my own on chivalry. For me to offer you my seat, you should be any of the following: 1) an elderly; 2) pregnant; 3) disabled or visibly ill or injured, or; 4) in care of a child or children.

However, after some enlightening discussions with my better half, those rules evolved to add one, all-powerful item in the list: 5) woman/lady/female.

And so I have resigned myself to the fate of never having to get seated in the MRT or LRT. It was a relief to my psyche, I must say, since it rid me of the effort to assess my surrounding of anyone who needs to be seated – because now I don’t even bother getting a seat. All the time, I just choose to stand.

For someone who takes the train only on weekends, it was an easy sacrifice for me to make.

But for those who spend their daily, working lives commuting these railways, battling it out amid the stress and fatigue from the daily grind, chivalry must have taken an entirely different form -- something I find hard to understand.

Assuming it is still there.



More rare sights I had yesterday: the Lovapalooza at Baywalk, as seen from a small ship cruising Manila Bay and from the 5th floor of Grand Boulevard Hotel, and; my relatives and family friends who made it at the dinner cruise at Baywalk for a small gathering.

Tomorrow we re-visit Corregidor.

February 11, 2006

Theories and stuffs

Last night...

Mic's pasta ish da bomb. Dude, pwede ka nang magtayo ng resto. Wag ka lang magpapa-eat-all-you-can buffet kasi malulugi ka sa amin.

There seems to be a problem lately with San Mig Light. Somehow all the batches I've tasted were stale or lacking that certain fizz.

Mic's theory is that the stock must have been exposed to sunlight. Unlike Pale Pilsen's dark-colored bottle, San Mig Light's transparent bottle doesn't protect the contents from the sun.

Interesting.

I know now why pasta isn't an ideal "pulutan".

Both make me sleepy.

While carbohydrate gives power to the body, it is also a mild relaxant. And pasta, just like rice, takes longer to burn. The immediate effect of consuming large amounts would be sleepiness, as the body diverts most blood flow to the digestive system to hasten digestion. Power comes in much later.

Beer is a natural downer.

So after a hearty portion of pasta, it took just four bottles of beer to make me drowsy, and some of us tipsy.

Why does the street lamp turn off when we stand under it?

I used to think that when street lamps blink out when I pass by, it means I've been a bad person that day. Following that theory would therefore qualify me as a "bad" person every day (and night).

But for want of a more scientific explanation, I point to our "aura" as the factor.

Every lifeform has a unique polarity, or electrical field, that varies depending on both physiological and emotional state. A healthy person would have a significantly different polarity compared to someone who's sick or ill. Emotions affect our bodies' chemical composition as well.

I'm not sure whether the polarity is negative or positive between the human body and the electrical field generated by the street lamp towards the ground, but there's definitely a clash strong enough to put the lights out when the two polarities get within each other's range.

Hmmm...

Then again, maybe I've been bad.

How do you address your boyfriend/girlfiend’s father whom you will be meeting for the first time?

Sir? Tito or Uncle?

On this matter, maybe I'll just wait for our officemate's update when she meet her bf’s father, for the first time, today.

Finally, last night’s most memorable hirit: “Na-try mo na?”

February 10, 2006

Slowdown

There's an eerrie sensation seeing the actresses you once knew as child stars started appearing, barely-clad, on the cover of a men's magazine.

Dang, I'm getting old.

And worse, my housemates can somehow predict who among the young stars will be next.

Sigh.

It's going to be a busy weekend.

And an even busier week up ahead.

But for now, it's tequila friday. I just heard someone saying "UP Fair".

February 08, 2006

Drama

The caption at the bottom portion of the ANC live coverage yesterday says, "Probers reveal findings on the ULTRA stampede."

But to me, DILG Usec. Marius Corpuz sounded more like he's delivering a dramatic speech than statements of facts.

"... They were exploited, manipulated and treated like animals..."
"... pack of hungry wolves..."

By the time he wrapped up, I was wondering how much of what he said were from the fact-finding team's written report (a testimony, perhaps, from a survivor of the stampede) and how much were from his own opinion.

It is true that many have died from that incident, and emotions run high, but I can't help feeling that some government officials, including the Justice Secretary, should restrain themselves from voicing their speculations and personal opinions, given their official positions.

There's enough drama in this country as it is.

February 06, 2006

Too many

It was a sight straight out of a calamity-struck scene: people crying over loved ones while others walk about trying to find (and perhaps hoping not to) their missing companions among the lifeless bodies that lined up the streets.

But not even a calamity can bring this much death in one place.

May the lessons from the Ultra tragedy be never forgotten. May the tales of those who went there, and survived, be heard and echo forever.

This is one of the many realities of poverty.

What a way to dampen the Pacquiao euphoria, the strengthening peso, the visit of a renowned evangelist, among other good news.

Life, as always, would come up with something to balance things out.

But, there seem so many in just one week...

Last Wednesday a friend of mine lost her father to an illness. Last Saturday my boss’ mother, one of the most inspiring persons I have the pleasure to meet, passed away. And just this morning one of our executive interviewers died due to asthma.

Too many.

Sigh.

January 23, 2006

Overload

It was a weekend full of over...

Picture overload.

My godson Sam celebrated his first birthday at Kenny Roasters Eastwood, Libis. Joan and I arrived on time as specified on the invitation, and waited for an hour (we expected that one-hour wait).

I enjoyed the 10++-minute AVP for baby Sam -- so much pictures in one year! I think he's got more photos now than I have in 20 years! Mommy Shan and Daddy Jay must have had a camera ready at Sam's every picture-perfect (and uhm not-so-perfect) moment.

Sugar overload.

The long wait does wonders to the appetite. I ate two sets of a combo meal that has one-piece chicken, one rice, one side dish, one muffin, and one cup choco ice cream. I handled the chicken and side dishes well, but my head ached when I cleaned up the muffins and two cups of ice cream.

It must be our family genes sending out the diabetes alert. Yikes!

Power overload.

Manny Pacquiao's newly-improved left hook and counterpunch routine were works of art -- tailor-made for Morales! Coupled with his untampered stamina (no bloodtesting this time) and the right Cleto Reyes gloves (knuckles get exposed the more you punch), even a tough tactician like Morales won't last under Pacquiao's power punches. I felt a bit sick watching the replays of that left punch he landed on Morales' head that brought the Mexican to his knees. Oouuch.

Mabuhay ka, Manny!

Pero bakit nauna pa siyang nayakap at nahalikan ng mga Kanong naka suit and tie, na kasimbilis ng kidlat sumampa sa ring? Are they the people who's going to rake in the millions of dollars from his victory?

And finally...

FG Mike to PGMA over the phone (and in this case, heard over national television): "Te quiero mucho..."

Awww.

Is it Valentine season already?

January 19, 2006

Ugly

Hopped to Cez's page, found this link and read the accounts of this person and her friends.

And viola! My day is ruined.

No one forced them to go through that establishment. But they did -- armed with three cameras (and perhaps that oh-so-noble quest for learning), acted the way they did, concluded that they were being "judged" by onlookers (damn, they can read minds now?), and showed remorse by calling each other "Ugly Americans".

Oh well, what can you expect from those who think everything is supposed to be made for them? Their very nation operate under that same grand inspiration in its global affairs.

Pity, though, they got discouraged so easily.

I wish they do that again, this time right here in the Philippines. I'd strongly recommend they do it in Jollibee-Philcoa. They'll definitely get the learning they deserve, once these people step out of their comfort zones.

January 13, 2006

Week end

Pure gibberish.

I wish my earphones are louder -- it's taking too long to drown the screaming in my head, generated by a week's worth of absorbing black aura from people with the gift of passing around anger like potato chips.

Pagbigyan...

Pag ako ang na-bad trip, gusto ko maging miserable rin kayo...

I wish I could do just that.

But *sigh* no. I don't have that gift.

Thank God there's Metallica, Aerosmith, and Linkin Park in my playlist -- they compensate for the missing decibels.

The cute squeezeball I got as gift looks pretty roughed up. With the way things are going at the workplace, the poor thing won't last another week.

Started inking a drawing for a friend. I love the inking part!

Loud music, squeezeball in my left hand, pen in my right, tracing fine lines...

Hmmm hmmm la la la...

I need to get that punching bag set up at the office's vacant space soon. Maybe that could speed up the de-stressing process.

The bottle of El Hombre stashed at the shelf kept peeking out teasingly at us. Heck, it's crying out to be consumed.

Friday naman na... Siguro naman pwede nang magpahinga at magsaya kahit sandali... May bukas pa naman, di ba?

Sigh.

Inhale... exhale...

*Smile*

January 04, 2006

The Day after 2005

I was hurting in four places when I woke up morning of January 1. I had to chew two tablets of antacid to keep my stomach from rejecting anything I put in. And the first thing I did after greeting my mother and kasambahays happy new year was to check my last night's barong for holes, scratches, and dirt.

There was none. Not even a tiny speck.

And yet the bodily pains slowly grew distinct until I was able to count not four but five points that felt like they got stabbed by a blunt object. Right shoulder, right elbow, the back of my right palm, right thigh, and right shin.

Over breakfast my mother kept making me turn around to search for any sign of wound or bruising. There was none. Save for the gash in my right palm I got the other day for twisting a bottle cap that got jammed, I have no visible injury, even on the points where the flesh hurt when applied light pressure.

I remember staying sober last night until I fulfilled my duty of dancing with my mother in the grand "Rigodon de Honor", which was the highlight of the town's annual Father's Day/New Year celebration.

It was after the grand square dance that I started consuming everything friends, waiters, elder folks, handed me -- red wine, white wine, beer, tequilla, etc etc.

An hour before midnight I was laughing at everything. I laughed with folks who kept asking me how come I'm not marrying so-and-so because we look so good together, and later laughed with so-and-so when I told her what the folks have been telling me. Some folks thought I already got married, while majority got the date correct.

Good old small town publicity... news do spread fast.

Thirty minutes before midnight I left my mother to say hello to my elementary school friends gathered in a house not far from the town hall. More beer.

At the strike of midnight, I rode the motorbike and made my way back to the hall, weaving past street dancers and people staring skywards to watch the fireworks.

What happened next was a blur.

The bike's front wheel hit a coco-lumber sprawled diagonally on the unlighted part of the street. The bike slid sideways as I tried to support my weight with my right leg, and came to stop with me lying on my right side.

I was up and gunning the bike's engine by the time one of my friends caught up. A quick scan of my appearance and he slapped my back, greeted my happy new year, and sent me off.

By the time I got to the hall, a text message from my mother told me that she already went home. At home, we sang videoke and drank some more for another two hours before everyone finally went to sleep.

How my barong stayed unscathed remained a mystery, and was momentarily forgotten after breakfast. Maybe I imagined the whole bike incident...

It was morning of January 2, as my mother and her driver were about to leave for office, when they made another discovery on the bike. It made my mother run upstairs to my room and wake me from my slumber.

The rear part of the bike's seat was smeared in blood, with bloody handprints all over it.

Definitely human blood, says the driver as he wiped it off with a wet rag before I could say "stop-let-me-take-a-picture-of-it-first!"

Sigh. I hate it when I forget things.

Happy 2006!



With my mother after the festivities, and the barong that somehow defied explanation. ^^